MDM-1 and MDM-2: two mutator-derived MITE families in rice

Yang G, Hall TC

J. Mol. Evol. 2003 Mar;56(3):255-64

PMID: 12612829


Numerous miniature inverted repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are present in the rice genome but their transposition mechanisms are unknown. In this report, we present evidence that two novel MITE families may have arisen from Mutator-related transposable elements and thus may use a transposition mechanism similar to that of Mutator elements. Two families of novel MITEs, namely, MDM-1 and MDM-2, were identified by searching for MITEs nested with Kiddo, a previously identified MITE family. MDM-1 and MDM-2 bear hallmarks of Mutator elements, such as long terminal inverted repeats (LTIRs), 9-bp target-site duplications (TSDs), and putative transposase binding sites. Strikingly, the MDM-1 family has a 9-bp terminus identical to that of a rice Mutator-like element ( MULE-9) and the MDM-2 family has an 8-bp terminus identical to that of the maize autonomous Mutator element MuDR. A putative transposase homologous to MURA protein is identified for the MDM-2 family. Thus, these two novel MITE families, with a total copy number of several hundred in rice, are designated Mutator-derived MITEs ( MDMs). Interestingly, sequence decay analysis of MDM families revealed a number of insertion site duplications (ISDs) in the alignment gaps, and widespread historical nesting events are proposed to account for the existence of these ISDs. In addition to its value for discovering new MITEs, the nesting analysis approach used in this study simultaneously identifies MITE insertion polymorphisms.